Clint Fisher – training or not, inspired to run Comrades
03 May 2016
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Brad Brown: Welcome onto this edition of Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now. I often say it here on the podcast that I grew up in a Comrades family. My parents were always going down to the race.
I was around it all the time and as a little boy I decided I wanted to run Comrades and our next guest also grew up in a Comrades house. It’s been part of his life probably for as long as he can remember. Clint Fisher, welcome onto Old Mutual Live, thanks for joining us today, good to have you.
Clint Fisher: Thank you so much for having me.
BB: Clint, just to give a bit of background, your mom is Pat Fisher who has run numerous Comrades. She’s been there or thereabout with the leading ladies. She’s always been in the most finishers over the years. Tell me a bit about your mom as an athlete.
Great memories of my mom’s runs
CF: Yes, from when I can remember, my mom, as you said, my mom started running Comrades when I think my sister was two years old, somewhere around there. My sister just turned 34, I’m 37. From the day I can remember, I was on the side of the road with my old man and the family.
Having breakfast on the side of the road and it just, ja, we used to, it was just Comrades. My mom was off running every weekend and it’s, what are you training for? Just Comrades, Comrades, I think as you say. She’s done the most consecutive Comrades, it’s just, ja, as I say, it’s been my life.
BB: Clint, can you remember the first time as a kid where you thought, you know what, I want to run this thing?
CF: You know what, I don’t actually think you wake up going, I want to do Comrades. It’s probably like one of the longest races, it is one of the longest ultra marathons that it is. It’s like, my mom always used to say to me, listen, you have to do one with me.
When the year 2000 came, they actually did that millennium run where they were going to add on the extra hour finishing time. I was supposed to do that and then I just wasn’t prepared enough. I thought, you know what, one day I’m going to run Comrades with you mom. Just don’t pressure me into doing it, but I’m going to do it.
I started running, I started my 5km time trials and stuff like that. Just got better and better and realised how good I was at running. Because obviously I’m quite a scrawny little oke and I’m not too heavy on my feet. So running became my love interest, if I could say that.
Then just took it from there. I trained for Comrades, I did my first Comrades on 840km training and I did a 10:43. Then my second one the following year I did 25km training and I did it in 11:45 or something, I had like 25 minutes to spare. But I won’t lie to you, it was probably the most gruelling ever because of the no training thing.
Doing Comrades on nearly zip training
BB: Do I want to know why you only did 25km of training for your second Comrades?
CF: I’m not going to blame me meeting a lovely young lady who does inspire me to run. But you know what, coming into running, I thought, I’ve qualified. Because I did the previous year’s Comrades and that just played on my mind. I will try and just wing it and go for it and that’s what I did.
I ended up doing 25km training and time ran away with me. I just didn’t have any more time to do it. I went out with my old lady, had a great start and then she, basically that’s who I ran my second one. I think my mom actually bailed because she had some serious problems.
BB: Clint, I’m having a quiet chuckle to myself because a lot of the guys who have been around Comrades for a while moan about Comrades changing that rule that you have to run a qualifier. That your previous Comrades doesn’t count as your qualifier anymore. I think I’ve just figured out why. I figure out why they changed that rule, it’s all your fault!
CF: Ja, probably, I was the one who made it all change over. Like listen, guys like me not doing the previous year as a qualifier, so you don’t have to worry for the next flipping year. You can do whatever you want and that’s what I did. I promise you, I won’t do it again.
I can’t now because I’m kind of trying to train now for my next Comrades this year. What’s the date today? We’re on the 6th of April and I’ve got two months to go. To be honest with you, I’m running 5km at the moment, comfortably. So I’m probably going to wing my Ballito to Durban run and see if I qualify. If I don’t quality, then I guess I’m doing Comrades next year.
Three is halfway to ten
BB: Clint, I’m a bit concerned because obviously, and your mom will tell you the story as well that you decide you want to run one. Then you have to do the back to back. You’ve done and Up and a Down. Then if that’s all you’re going to run, you need to call it quits after two. But Comrades runners really struggle with maths and every single Comrades runner who has run more than 10 will tell you that two is halfway to ten. Once you’ve run three, it’s downhill, you’re sucked in for life.
CF: Three is halfway to seven, ja, almost. No, I saw it in my old lady and I cursed her the day that I finished my Comrades. Because I was in so much pain and the next day after, like no ways am I doing another Comrades. Then a week after your first Comrades, it’s like okay, cool, that wasn’t too bad, the pain went away. It’s gone for good, except my toenails took a year to grow back.
I decided to do a second one because obviously my first one I did was a down run, the second one I did was an up run and I swore I’d never do it again and then my girlfriend actually started running with me and she wanted to do a Comrades and halfway through our training she picked up a hip injury, so we canned that idea.
Then, since then, I’ve just canned, every year it’s like, now, I’m going to do it, no, I’m not, yes I am and then decided, no, I’m not. But now, I’ve got a little bee in my bonnet and I want to prove to everybody that I can do it again and I’m planning on doing it again. So, whether it’s this year or next year, I probably will be there.
BB: Clint, a little birdy told me as well, I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but I had a chat to your mom and –
CF: I know you had a chat to my mom.
BB: The reason I asked you the question about when you first recall wanting to run the race is because she told me; when you first said to her that you want to run Comrades as a little boy. You told her that you were going to win Comrades.
CF: Let me tell you the story behind that, okay? A mate of mine, I went to school with him and his dad owned a BMW 323 ci. It was a coupe, a two-door, black. It was like my dream car and at the time I think I’d been out of school a couple of years.
He said to me; if you go and you win the Comrades, I’ll give you this car. So that’s where it came, hold on a minute, how hard could it be to run 90km at a sprint. Then I did my first Comrades and realised, okay, there is no way in hell I’m going to win it because to keep that pace that those, I mean I went through halfway on my first Comrades and the leader had just finished.
There’s no way I’m going to get there, unless my life becomes running. I give up my job and I give up my girlfriend. I give up everything and focus on training. So, yes, there was that little glimmer of hope, like yes, I’m going to do Comrades and I’m going to win it.
But my mom always said to me, my boy, don’t aim so high because you need to run the race first to determine how far it is and then push yourself. So, ja, don’t aim to win it, unless you do some flipping serious training.
BB: And weight about 40km. Clint, have you decided you’re going to buy your own BMW or you still believe you’ve got a Comrades win in you?
CF: There’s no way I’ll be winning the Comrades, so I’m probably going to have to save my money and buy myself the BMW.
Great to share in mom’s Comrades passion
BB: I love it. Clint, one thing I love about your mom is just her passion and she’s so fired up about Comrades, it’s like day one for her. She’s just so passionate –
CF: Day one for her, sorry to interrupt you, every single year it’s like day one for her. Every year I hear the same story, after she’s finished Comrades. I go home and I see her and well done mom and she looks like death became her, seriously. Absolute death. Like, oh, I’m so ill, I don’t want to run again. She uses big long swear words saying that she’s never going to do it again.
Then the next morning she phones me, before I’ve even woken up. She says to me, hey my boy, I’m good, I’ve just swept the driveway and I’m going for a walk this afternoon. I’m going to the pavilion and I’m doing this and that. I’m going for a walk at Stella and she’s back up and running, ready for the next year’s Comrades.
BB: I think you need to lift your game Clint, your mom is making you look bad. You need to do this qualifier in 2016 and we’ll see you on the road in Pietermaritzburg for the start of the 2016 Comrades.
CF: Hopefully, look out for me at the Comrades expo, I might be there. As I say, if my training goes, if I qualify, like I said, I’m going out there and I’m going to win. I think I’ve got two more qualifiers left, I’ll try and do both of them. If I qualify, I’m going to get that substitution and I guess I’m running Comrades.
BB: I think that’s fantastic. Clint, it’s been awesome catching up, I love shooting the breeze with Comrades runners. You and your mom sound amazing, I can’t wait to meet you guys down in Durban, best of luck.
CF: I will look out for you, where are you based at the Comrades?
BB: We’re going to be on the Old Mutual stand, broadcasting live for Old Mutual Live, so come past and say howzit.
CF: I’ll see if I can sneak in the backdoor and come say hi.
BB: Fantastic, Clint Fisher, thanks for joining us, much appreciated, take care mate.
CF: Thanks for having me man, cheers.